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Lionel Lukin

In mid-February [1830] Lionel Lukin, a former officer in the Imperial Russian Army, arrived in the 359-ton East Indiaman Egyptian. ...
The goods and people which Lionel Lukin brought, for example, were valued at £440/11/0, entitling him to 2,350 hectares. His assets comprised his brother George, carpenter William Syred and family, and two farm servants (a third had fallen overboard and drowned during the voyage). His livestock consisted only of a dog, three pigs and three goats, but he was well equipped ... Cooper & McDonald, 1989: 6.

Your letter of the 19th instant describing the boundaries you wish to be attached to your location at Point Heathcote has been received. Your southern boundary is to commence at the rising ground beyond the fourth point on the Canning River ... The east and west lines will comprise on its northern side an area of about 750 acres including Point Heathcote and the land on each side of it. Surveyor General to Lionel Lukin, May 28 1830 - cited in Cooper & McDonald: 6.

In March 1830 Archibald Butler was granted the 800-hectare Swan Location 73, comprising much of present-day Attadale and parts of Melville and Willagee. On May 28 the 300-hectare Swan Location 61 at Point Heathcote, later to be expanded to 440 hectares and to include all that land now constituting Applecross, was allotted to Lionel Lukin. Waylen’s original 200 hectares were finally located between Lukin’s and Butler’s grants, as Swan Location 74. Cooper & McDonald: 10.

Apart from Butler’s and Waylen’s lands, the grants along the Swan River foreshore remained unoccupied for some time. Lionel Lukin, for example, did nothing to develop Location 61. In June 1830 when he visited Point Heathcote to inspect his property, he was not impressed. Of its 300 hectares, he calculated that only eight would be suitable for arable farming, with the sandy remainder useful for rough grazing only. By then Lukin was already living on his North Fremantle property, which he called Lilburn after the captain of the Egyptian, and was fully occupied in establishing his Fremantle-to-Perth ferry service. Soil infertility was but one of several factors behind Lukin’s neglect of Point Heathcote. Intelligent and adventurous, he was very much a creature of impulse, eagerly embarking on new ventures without much thought for the consequences. By December 1832 he had lost interest in his Melville grant and was offering it in exchange for 20 hectares adjacent to his North Fremantle property. Although he claimed that he could not persuade anyone to settle on Location 61 because of the large number of Aborigines in the area, Lukin was himself at fault. He had procrastinated for so long over the development of his rural lands that all of his servants had drifted away, and he was unable to hire others. Cooper & McDonald: 17.

River traffic provided both a means of employment and an avenue of investment for the early Melville settlers. Waylen, Adams and Bull thought that ferry services would eventually enhance the value of their lands, while Lukin, Duffield and Puckrin all became directly involved in water transport. And when Morgan advertised for "two sober and industrious men” to lease a smallholding from him on Bull’s Creek, he pointed out that a three-ton cutter would be available “for which there is now sufficient weekly freight to and from the Creek to support one man and a boy.” Of those directly involved in river transport in the early days, Lionel Lukin was probably the most successful, operating a weekly service between Fremantle and Perth as early as 1833. The Fanny transported goods upstream for 30/- a ton, with freight rates on downstream cargoes (which were in comparatively short supply) subject to negotiation. The success of this venture encouraged Lukin to open an inn at Lilburn, at the North Fremantle terminus of both his upriver ferry and Duffield’s cross-river service. In 1837, when he put Lilburn up for lease, it boasted a substantial dwelling house, outoffices, a garden and paddock enclosed with a low stone wall. The property also had a reputation for heavy yields of grain from its artificially drained alluvial soils, enriched with liberal applications of seaweed. Cooper & McDonald: 30.

Lionel Lukin received a [liquor] licence (retail) for his farm, Lilburn, across the Swan at North Fremantle, where he had established a solid house and a large garden. It is not known whether he had a store of some kind or whether he used his house as an inn. Like many others, he was heard of no more in this respect [as an innkeeper]. Tuckfield, 1971: 68.

References and Links

Cooper, W.S. [William] & G. [Gil] McDonald 1989, A City for All Seasons: The Story of Melville, City of Melville.

Tuckfield, Trevor 1971, 'Early colonial inns and taverns', Early Days: Journal and proceeedings of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society, Part 1, 7, 3: 65-82; Part 2, 7, 7: 98-106.


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